When is It Time to Jump Ship and How Do You Do It?

It’s only human nature to sometimes want to quit your job. You are having a bad day. Your boss is a jerk. Your colleagues are idiots. Your clients are fools. Then you go home, have a shower, a good meal, watch some television, read a book, play with the kids, get a good night’s sleep and, in the morning, the boss appears to be no longer such a jerk, your colleagues are no longer such idiots, and your clients are not all that foolish (except for that one…there’s always one!). There may even be a few people at work that you actually like and respect.

But there are times, we have all had them, when we realize that enough, really is, enough, and it is time for a change. As I have written previously, change is the only constant in the universe. Most people are afraid of change. “Better the devil you know…”​ as the saying goes.

When it comes to employment the adage is, “It is easier to find a job when you have a job.”​ If you don’t like that one, there’s another, “Don’t quit your job until you have a new one.”​ Both say the same thing; both are correct.

So what are the rules for looking for a new job?

First, I have what is called the “Sleep Rule.”​ When I make a difficult decision, if I sleep well that evening, I know it was the right decision for me. So if you can literally “sleep on it,”​ go for it. By the same token, if you are so upset about work that you can’t sleep, it is definitely time for a change. If your job is making you sick, there’s nothing to discuss.

Second, you may not want a new job. If you like your boss, colleagues and clients, perhaps you are just bored. I have had a number of clients with whom I have worked on convincing their bosses to give them new/additional responsibilities. In the end, everyone was happy.

Third, if you really do want a new job/employer, be aware that the more public your job search the less confidentiality you will have. If the boss finds out, they will start looking for your replacement. That is why preparation is so important. You have to have a network of professionals whom you can trust to advocate on your behalf. Most jobs are not advertised so you will only hear about them from private sources. (And, for the record, those jobs are the best jobs!) So it is important to build your network now so you will have it when you need it.

Fourth, if you do not just want to change jobs but professions, make certain you have all the qualifications for a new profession and be prepared to start at the bottom. If you have been in marketing for ten years, and now want to work in cybersecurity, that’s great. But you have to go to school, learn the trade and get the certifications. And then, professionally, all you will have to show that is relevant to your new profession is ten years of customer service experience. You will be competing against persons with actual relevant experience so it is important, when you choose the school (it can be an unaccredited trade school) that you choose based on their record of finding employment for their graduates. A degree in Computer Science from Harvard may be impressive but, if all you have on graduating is a piece of paper, debt and an appointment to apply for Unemployment, maybe a degree from a school on the second floor of a shopping mall, where they can actually get their graduates employment, with little to no debt, is a better option.

In any case, to know what you need for your new profession, just look at job postings. Focus on the qualification. While, usually, all that is important is to have the “required”​ qualifications, since you are starting from scratch, so to speak, you should also pay attention to the “preferred”​ qualifications as well. And, here’s the hard part, keep in mind that the job descriptions of today may not be the job descriptions of tomorrow!

Fifth, regardless of whether it’s a new job or a new profession, do not be emotional. You must be rational. Prepare for the worse case scenario: Your boss finds out and replaces you. So you must have a minimum savings of at least six months to make sure you can pay your bills.

Sixth, when you resign, be nice about it. Not that it really matters what an employer/supervisor puts in your personnel file, but you want to make certain that your letter of resignation leaves the right impression. Thank your employer/supervisor for their support and mention some of the accomplishments you had. Make certain to include in the letter your contact information and a statement that they can reach out to you if they need any help. You should also write, and reference in the letter, a report on any outstanding projects, what needs to be done and how best to do it. That way, the record will be balanced.

Seventh, when you resign, if your employer makes a counteroffer, reject it. Your colleagues will be jealous that you quit and then got a raise/promotion/whatever and they, despite their loyalty, received nothing. You will not be the favorite person in the Lunch Room. The boss won’t trust you and you can forget about any promotions. Nothing good comes from accepting a counteroffer.

So be confident in your decision. Discuss it with people you respect. And, as I said, sleep on it. Your subconscious will tell you what to do!


Equality Does Not Exist and That is How You Build a Great Team

When people talk about the need for equality, I laugh. (I was going to write that the only place people are equal is in the grave but even that is not true!) Equality does not exist. The only place where there should be equality is in the courts. Of course, that is a fiction. The person who can afford the most intelligent/talented (not necessarily the same thing) attorney usually wins. I assume that means that the only real equality is that everyone’s dollar bill is worth the same as everyone else’s. But then, the number of dollar bills in anyone’s pocket ends the discussion about financial equality.

I fully realize that equality, and the striving for that unachievable goal, is a popular talking point among many people. So there will always be people, in love with the sound of their own voices, screaming for equality. (For the record, I just want everyone to have a fair chance to achieve their goals.)

My response is, if everyone were equal then “equality” would be “average” and what type of goal is “average?” I have worked with many “average” people. For them, mediocrity was an achievement. It would be nice if we were all equal as far a opportunity was concerned, with everyone having the same chance as everyone else. It doesn’t exist. (Well, maybe in North Korea, but who wants to live there?)

I was thinking about this after I heard a commercial for Southern New Hampshire University. I like the one where the president says, “You were smart before the tassel turned.” (I actually used that line, giving him credit, in a speech I wrote.) I could not believe it when I heard him say, on a different commercial, “The world equally distributes talent but not opportunity.” (I waited until I heard it twice to make sure I had heard it correctly. Sadly, I had.)

Everyone, even intelligent people, are entitled to say something stupid. But this is a great example of the need for having a few layers of people who check, double-check, and triple-check something that is going to be published. I am certain that SNHU’s president is an intelligent man. I have no idea what he was trying to say, but talent is most definitely not distributed equally.

Some people say I am a talented writer. Some people say I am a talented recruiter. Some people say I am a talented career counselor. Some people say I am a talented speaker. Some people say I am an idiot. Some people say I am a babbling fool. I’ll tell you one thing for certain: I can’t do math. I can’t explain quantum mechanics. I can’t sing. I can’t draw. I can’t play a musical instrument. My IT talents are very limited. And if you want to lose all your savings, come to me for advice on financial planning. We are all talented in some spheres and wonting in others.

Equality is a fiction. And the sooner you acknowledge and accept that the better off you will be. You are not equally as talented as everyone else. You have to determine where you strengths, your talents, lie and build on them. That is how you will become a successful professional.

For the record, finding people who are talented in different realms is how you build a successful team. Yes, they should be equally talented at what they do. Employers should always strive to hire the best. So if that is what the president of SNHU wanted to say, he spoke poorly not foolishly.

The only way you can have equality is if you embrace the lowest common denominator. That means you will achieve nothing but failure. Equality of opportunity is a goal. Again, everyone should have a fair chance. But, in the real world, that is a dream that will never totally be realized because we are not all equally talented. It would be nice if we were but we are not.

The High Cost of Accepting Unemployment Insurance

There is no shame in accepting Unemployment Insurance. I did, for a while, until clients returned. Not ashamed. Not embarrassed. One does what one needs to do in order to survive.


If you decided not to look for work because you could get by on Unemployment, you will have a serious problem. That is something that goes to character. Employers will look at your resume, see that you have been unemployed since COVID began and will ask you, “What have you been doing in the past few months to find a job?”

Given that you cannot walk down the street without seeing “Help Wanted” signs in just about every store, “I’ve been looking but couldn’t find anything,” just won’t fly. Employers will hear, “I’d rather collect Unemployment than minimum wage.” They may also hear, “I’m too good for menial work.” Or, just simply, “I’ve got a huge ego.” And it is what the employers hear that matters, not what you say.

There is one, and only one, reason for not having a job these days: being a care giver. “I had to take care of my children,” or “I had to take care of my parent,” are the only (see below) credible gap fillers on a resume. Otherwise, you will look like someone who is fine sitting around all day watching television. No one wants to hire someone like that.

Of course, one other explanation is that you took advantage of Unemployment to advance your career by taking on-line courses. Be prepared to prove it. List all the classes on your resume, front and center. Otherwise, you will be placed in the same pile as the other (assumed) silly soap opera/idiotic talk show viewers. And when that happens, you can say good-bye to your reputation as a professional.

In other words, accepting Unemployment Insurance for no good reason can cost you your short-term, and perhaps long-term, future.

Always Provide Clients and Potential Employers with Added Value

Perhaps the most valuable thing a business can provide their customers is added value. Perhaps the best way to retain customers is to provide added value. Perhaps the most effective way to secure a new customer is to provide added value during the negotiations. And the same is true for a job candidate negotiating to get the job offer.

Giving something away for free, especially if it is unexpected, and assuming it has value, shows that you are a true professional, someone who knows their industry and knows their audience.

If you are trying to convince a prospective client that you can increase their sales pipeline, or an employer that you can increase their market share or, more importantly, in both cases, to increase their client/customer retention rate, one excellent way of doing so is to suggest that they share free advice on a regular basis with their customers and clients, just as you are doing with yours. Then, of course, you actually have to do it. You have to practice what you preach.

I’m not talking about newsletters. I’m certain that most newsletters find their way to the SPAM folder. They are a waste of time, money and effort. The recipient won’t want to offend the sender by “unsubscribing,” so they’ll just move the unwanted document to SPAM and the sender will never be the wiser (assuming that it is sent from a dedicated email address). What I’m talking about is a quick message with substantive actionable information that any client or customer will be happy to receive, and prospective employers will be thrilled to hear. First, let’s deal with clients or customers.

WEEK 1: Jane, I hope you are well. I was thinking about you. These days everyone and their brother has a podcast. It’s free publicity and you can add the recording to your website. I came across this website, PodcastGuests.com. It’s free. Why don’t you sign up as a potential guest? You have nothing to lose. Good luck!

WEEK 2: Jane, I trust everything is well. Following up on the message I sent you last week, I discovered a second website which may be of interest to you. Like PodcastGuests.com, it’s a way to get invited to be on podcasts. The site is MatchMaker.FM (and, no, that’s not a typo, it is “.FM”). Hope this is of help. Let me know if you are successful. Have a great week!

WEEK 3: Jane, I hope you are doing well. There’s another website I wanted to share with you. If you sign up as a source on helpareporter.com, every weekday you will receive 3 emails with a list of questions from reporters on every conceivable topic. When questions are asked about your expertise, send a quick reply and you may be quoted by the reporter. Some of the articles appear in national newspapers and some on specialized blogs. In either case, it’s free press and establishes you as an expert. It will get you in front of a larger audience and look great on your website. Have fun!

Three weeks. Three pieces of advice given without being asked.

And if it is a job interview, you can just ask, “What do you use to raise your profile and to help your clients/customers? Do you use or advice them to use PodcastGuests.com, MatchMaker.fm, or helpareporter.com?” If the answer is “Yes,” they will know that you know your stuff. If the answer is, “No,” even better. One of the best ways to get a job offer is by educating the interviewers.

Regardless of whether you are helping clients, trying to close with prospects or get a job, this type of advice costs you nothing but can reap huge rewards.